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Why You Should Speak

At conferences and meet-ups, I spend a lot of time with young practitioners. And every time I chat […]

How to Hire a Designer

A few days ago, I read an article with the same title as this post.  Oh, maybe it was How to Hire a User Experience Professional, or Interaction Designer or Information Architect, or whatever. I don’t recall. There isn’t so much difference anyhow.  I do remember it said things like “look at their presentation skills”, “see if their personas are based on research” and something about their wireframes. I tweeted that’s why I wouldn’t hire a designer, which caused some kerfuffle with my followers.  And it’s hard to clarify in 140 characters what teed me off about the original article.

Here’s why I wouldn’t hire someone based on wireframes, Powerpoint and persons:  it’s not because these are necessarily bad (well, except the wireframes, which are so 2001 that they are the mullet of deliverables, and like the mullet I cannot wait until they are finally gone and I’m not asked to stare at them any longer.) I was bummed because these are merely artifacts and not necessarily the  vital critical thinking skills you need to find in a decent designer.

I really don’t care if you never do personas, or if you make them up from a guy you talked to in the grocery story.  I don’t care if you use keynote, Powerpoint or Illustrator. And honestly, I would hire someone if they did wireframes even though I hate the darn things.

So how do I vet designers, if not by their paperwork?

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3 Kinds of Free

3 Kinds of Free, originally uploaded by armanz.

Notes from last night’s product managment class

Last night’s Product Management class covered two important business areas: Business development (Guest lecturer to remain anonymous) and “Tips for success in growing revenues” – Guest Lecturer: Steve Tennant. I’ll put up tennant’s slides when/if they become available. The BD talk was from an individual from a big company with a lot of paranoia any time any of their people talk, I appreciated the chance to learn.

A couple of metaobservations. In a case study, one observation was that advertisers just won’t advertise against user-generated media. There is too much concern over potential porn, infringement and old-fashioned crappiness, making many UGD projects unprofitable, despite guarantees you put in place. Hardly news: i remember randy Farmer mentioning this being a problem back in his palace days. Interesting that with the prevalence of UGC it still hasn’t been solved though.

Secondly, it was pointed out that 99% of your end users will watch the work of the 1% who will actually make content with any tool you offer, which means you have got to make certain that you have enough traffic that 1% of that 1% will actually be cool enough to attract an audience (Don’t forget Sturgeon’s law!), or the whole thing is unprofitable.

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The News Business

Out of Print in The New Yorker

Three centuries after the appearance of Franklin’s Courant, it
no longer requires a dystopic imagination to wonder who will have the
dubious distinction of publishing America’s last genuine newspaper. Few
believe that newspapers in their current printed form will survive.
Newspaper companies are losing advertisers, readers, market value, and,
in some cases, their sense of mission at a pace that would have been
barely imaginable just four years ago. Bill Keller, the executive
editor of the Times, said recently in a speech in London, “At
places where editors and publishers gather, the mood these days is
funereal. Editors ask one another, ‘How are you?,’ in that sober tone
one employs with friends who have just emerged from rehab or a messy
divorce.” Keller’s speech appeared on the Web site of its sponsor, the Guardian, under the headline “NOT DEAD YET.”

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